Sri Lanka foot and leather industry must target niche products with good design, product development, fast delivery, high quality and competitive price, International Consultant Peter Racklyeft said at a capacity building programme for foot wear and leather products manufacturing sector in Sri Lanka at Galadari Hotel yesterday.
He said Sri Lanka is a good market which could target 15 million pairs of shoes accounting to two pairs per person but has to fight with reduction of imports and expansion of export market.
Industrial Development Board Chairman Udayasiri Kariyawasam said that foot wear and leather products sector employs about 20,000 people directly and indirectly and 1,248 foot wear and leather products manufacturing enterprises are currently in operation in the country.
However this sector is not enjoying an adequate share in the global market although a great potential exists for the industry. Therefore the sector requires enhanced technical skills and up-to-date training facilities to sustain their competitiveness in the volatile global market environment.
The industrial development board of Ceylon (IDB) is collaborating with the commonwealth secretariat, UK to implement a technical assistance programme with a view to strengthen the Sri lanka’s leather goods and foot wear sector. A new initiative has been launched to bring together the key stakeholders involved in manufacturing of leather goods and footwear,suppliers of raw material and accessories and providing training and other services to the industry in one forum.
"The proposed project is in line with the broader national objectives of Sri Lanka in the post war economic development process and will contribute to the development of the industry through building capacity of SME's to meet the global challenge in the footwear and leather goods market," Kariyawasam said.